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Samuel Poe lands in Essex County, Virginia


Research to date has not shed much light on the origins of Samuel Poe. No record of the name Poe has been found in the records for the Virginia Colony prior to 1704 when Samuel Poe is listed in the Virginia Quit Rent Roll for Essex County. He owned 800 acres of land. Records for Essex County (and Old Rappahannock County from which Essex was formed) exist for earlier periods and many names appear that show up later holding lands in proximity to Samuel Poe’s lands. This seems to indicate that Samuel Poe (and others, such as Robert Poe who died in 1722 and Katherine Poe who is mentioned in the records for 1722/3) came to Essex County from outside Virginia and were well established by 1704.


According to the Headrights statutes, Virginia colonists could obtain 50 acres of land for each person they brought into the Colony. There were no restrictions on age or gender. African’s were excluded in 1699 and later only English citizens could be imported. If Samuel Poe and others were brought into Virginia as part of the Headrights system, it would take 16 people to account for Samuel Poe’s original 800 acres. We do not know how many people lived on Samuel Poe’s land, but we do know that the property produced a great amount of tobacco (2000 pounds was paid for 105 acres of additional land in 1708). According to research, one person could tend to only two or three acres of the crop.


There was an influx of people into Essex County in the first decade of the eighteenth century, judging by the number of entries in the Court Order books as the years progress, the time period when Samuel Poe first appears.


However Samuel Poe acquired his 800 acres, the time period must have been between 1676 and 1704. The land was part of the original 4200 acres accorded in the Meders/Peters grant dated 1676. Meders is spelled with many variants, including Meaders, and possibly Meades. The name in its modern form is Meadows. Peters is also spelled Peeters and sometimes Petars in these early records.


1704 - Samuel Poe's original 800 Acres


Virginia Tax Records from the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, The William and Mary Quarterly, and Tyler’s Quarterly. Baltimore. Genealogical Publishing Company, Inc. 1983


Virginia Quit Rent Rolls, 1704


Essex County

Poe, Samll  800 acres


The same book includes this section - Essex County: An Annotated Copy of the Rent Roll of 1704


The annotations include who the landowner married and their date of death if it could be determined by the researcher. As an example, one annotation states: John Battaile (d. 1706; married Catherine Taliaferro and Elizabeth Smith)


The entry for Samuel Poe includes only one annotation – the date of death, since that is all the court records reveal. This researcher and the one who annotated the Rent Roll concur in our findings.


Location of Samuel Poe’s land


On page 63: Samuel Poe (d. 1725)


The general location of Samuel Poe lands can be ascertained through descriptions in various deeds.  A deed from 11 February 1708 describes a 50 acre parcel of the Meders/Peters grant as “in St. Mary’s Parish” bordering “Samuel Poe’s land by a branch … north side of the south fork of Peumansend Swamp (which is a name for a portion of Mill Creek).


In a deed between John Bell and William Bryan dated 18 May 1719, land in St. Mary’s Parish is described as “part of 4200 acres formerly granted to John Medows and Henry Peters by patent 17 April 1667” bordering “Saml. Poe’s land … corner gum on the north side of the north fork of Pemonsend Swamp … corner to Saml. Poe’s land at the mouth of a branch…”


From the foregoing description, it appears that Samuel Poe’s land was at the mouth of a fork in the Pewmansend and going south from the  fork. Or, it may be said, lying between the waters of the fork – if that is a proper reading of “north side of south fork” contrasted with “north side of the north fork.”


Samuel Poe’s land was bordered by Francis Browning and Matthew Collins


A further description ties land of Matthew Collins and Francis Browning to the same area. Without doubt, Matthew Collins and Francis Browning possessed lands bordering Samuel Poe’s.


On 20 October 1724, fifty acres is sold to Francis Browning (who later administers the estate of Samuel Poe). This land is describes as “lyeing on the East side of Puemansend Swamp being part of a Divident of Land formerly granted to Jno. Meadows and Henry Peeters and bounded as followeth beginning at the mouth of a branch called Francis Browning Branch at the main run side of the South Fork of Puemansend Corner to the Iron Mine Land and running Easterly up the said Branch its several courses to three marked white oaks standing in Matthew Collins old line.” Evidently, Francis Browning made claim of actual use in possessing some of the land. The deed continues, “Thence Southerly along the said devision line to a branch called Peace mouth of the first mentioned Branch to the place where it first began all which now premises are in the actual possession of him the said Francis Browning by Virtue of the Statute of Transferring uses into possession.”


Francis Browning acquired another fifty acres in the area through a deed dated 20 October 1724. That land is described as also being of the Meadows / Peeter’s grant “beginning at a corner red oak & hickory of Samuel Poe’s land & running thence South to a corner gum on the North side of the South Fork of Peumansend Swamp thence down the Swamp its several courses brought straight North to three gums corner to Samuel Poe’s land at ye mouth of a branch thence up the branch North joining to the said Francis Browning by Virtue of Statute for Transferring uses into possession…”


Samuel Poe acquires an additional 105 acres from Matthew Collins in 1708


We know that Samuel Poe acquired 105 acres of land from Matthew Collins on February 10, 1708. The following data may relate to the original Samuel Poe lands and/or the additional 105 acres.


Samuel Poe’s land probably adjoins that of Frederick Coghill


On 27 October 1707, Richard Booker (through attorney Thomas Short) sells an unspecified amount of land to Fredericke Coghill.  Samuel Poe witnessed the deed – most likely because his own lands bordered and he was witnessing the deed to verify that the borders of land being sold did not encroach upon his own. James Coghill (Fredericke’s father) also witnessed, probably for similar reasons (we often find that witnesses to deeds are owners of bordering land). The land being sold by Booker was originally part of a 1050 acre patent granted Frederick’s father, James Coghill. Because of the pattern of witnessing deeds during this period, it is likely that the Meders/Peters grant land was adjacent the land included in the James Coghill grant.


Matthew Collins apparently owned a portion of the Meders/Peters grant by 1708. This could have been gained through his wife, Mary Peters, only daughter of Henry Peters, the Peters of the grant. Matthew Collins sold part of his land to Samuel Poe.


On 10 February 1708,  Matthew Collins sold Samuel Poe 105 acres of land for 2000 pounds of tobacco. Clearly, the original 800 produced a sizeable crop. Samuel Poe must have had many people tending the acreage as researchers say that a single person could manage only one or two acres. However, evidence indicates that his sons were only born beginning around 1705. Other than the men who begin appearing in court records after Samuel’s death (who we assume to be his sons), we know only of Robert Poe of Essex County, who died with his own, apparently modest, estate in 1722 (whether Robert Poe owned his own land outright, leased land from Samuel Poe or farmed a portion of Samuel Poe’s land does not appear to be recorded).


Samuel Poe’s new 105 acres is bordered by Paul Micou land


The land sold by Matthew Collins to Samuel Poe is described as “105 acres, part of 4200 acres granted to John Medows and Henry Petars by patent 17 April 1667 in St. Anne’s Parish” bordering “Mr. Macco’s (Micou’s) land on the west side of the south fork of Pumansend Swamp (the original 800 acres was on the north side of the south fork). This deed is witnessed by Leo Hill (not much can be derived from the court records about this man) and Salvator Muscoe (who presides as a judge at one point – so this may be a legal witness, not one associated with the land holdings). Samuel Poe’s original 800 acres seems to be on the north side of the south fork. This deed was witnessed by William Gannocke, who we see below also owns a portion of the Meders/Peters grant which he sells to Matthew Collins. One wonders if Collins were trying to acquire the lands belonging to the Meders heirs. Also witnessing were Cornelius Sale, about whom nothing has been discovered, and Paul Micou, who we have seen owns lands bordering Samuel’s.


Sidebar: McDonald Poe, in his book Samuel Poe of Essex County, mistakenly assumes that the fact Mary, the wife of Matthew Collins, relinquishes her right of dower to Samuel indicates she is his daughter. He also apparently misread some record and states that Mary Collins gave Samuel Poe power of attorney. No record to that effect has been uncovered. Further, in a deed dated 6 March 1708, Mary Collins is described as “only daughter and heire apparent of Henry Peters” the co-owner of the Meders/Peters grant.


Transactions of land surrounding Samuel Poe’s acreage


William Gannock to Matthew Collins


On 6 March 1708 William Gannock sold 850 acres of the Meders/Peters grant to Matthew Collins. Witnesses were Paul Micou, Thomas Meades, John Ellis (probably Ellits / Elliot who are later connected to the Poe, George and Herndon lines) and John Sanders. These men appear through several lines of evidence to be neighbors of Samuel Poe, along with Matthew Collins and Francis Browning.


Matthew Collins to Paul Micou


On 10 March 1708 Matthew Collins and wife, Mary, sold 406 acres to Paul Micou (an attorney in Essex County who represented Gannocke’s wife Mary in the sale to Collins).  This land is described as “406 acres” for which Micou paid 9000 pounds of tobacco, testifying to the value of this land. Again, this is land from the Meders/Petars patent bordering “John Ellit’s land… south side of a branch of the south forke of Pewmansend Swamp … order to John Sanders and John Ellits…”


Mathew Collins to John Sanders


On 6 March 1708, Mathew Collins sells to John Sanders  (who already owns lands bordering Samuel’s) 766 acres described as “lying on a swamp called Pewmansend, in two parts, 600 and 166 acres as by deeds by William Gannocke unto John Sanders 30 May 1706 for 600 acres and 3 May 1707 for 166 acres… granted unto Henry Peters and John Meaders This deed is witnessed by John Ellits and William Robinson (who is an attorney during this period)


Matthew Collins to Robert Marshall


On February 11, 1708, Matthew Collins sells Robert Marshall 50 acres for 1000 pounds. The land is described as “in St. Mary’s Parish” bordering “Samuel Poe’s land by a branch … north side of the south fork of Pewmansend Swamp.” (this seems to be the description of the main portion of Samuel Poe’s land – north side of south fork).


Robert Marshall to Thomas Smith

Thomas Smith to John Bell


Robert Marshall soon sells the 50 acres to Thomas Smith on September 9, 1708 (amount not mentioned). Smith then, for 1700 pounds of tobacco, sells the 50 acres to John Bell – who we see from a deed dated 18 May 1719 owns land adjacent to Samuel Poe. Just by re-selling the land, it has increased in value by over two thirds.


There are other deeds involving Francis Browning, John Ellits and others that further reinforce the location of Samuel Poe’s lands.


James Coghill gains land through transportation of persons into the Virginia Colony


As mentioned above, the Matthew Collins land and the first lands of Samuel Poe seem to be near lands of James Coghill. The following record relates how James Coghill got some of his lands by bringing over five people (which implies use of the Headrights law). People could “sell” Headrights. In other words, if you knew people willing to be brought over, but did not have the money to pay the transport, someone could finance bringing the people over, and you would get the lands. It appears that James Coghill arranged to bring over five people, then transferred the land to Thomas Kirk for consideration of 2400 pounds of tobacco and a caske. It may be significant that Coghill was in the business of arranging travel to the Colony. It is possible that Samuel Poe and his family arrived through Headrights transportation. We see through the records that Samuel Poe had some connection to the Coghill family.


Virginia County Court Records: Deed Abstracts of Old Rappahannock County, Virginia 1663-1668

(old) Rappahannock County, VA Deeds, etc. No. 3

Edited and Published by Ruth and Sam Sparacio. 1320 Mayflower Dr. McLean, VA 22101-3401, Copyright 1989


Deed Book 3, pp. 90-92

Sir William Berkeley Knt., etc doe with the consent of the council of state accordingly give and grant unto James Coghill two hundred forty and six acres of land in the County of Rappa. On the so. Side of the River and in the Freshes of the River  & comity beginning at the wt. Oake on the head of a small creeke called Mr. Lucas Creeke and the Branch side and running thence with a lyne of marked trees formerly Val. Allens No: west by W:75p then N: by E: to a pocky 70 perches butting on the land of Henrick Lucas then N:W:320 p. along by and neare the sd Lucas Line of trees thence So: West 76 perches butting on the land of Daniel Gaines line thence along the sd lyne So: E: 56 percheds then So: So: E: 224 p thence E:N:E: 108 perches to a forked wt oak of Mr. Gaines his land that joynes to Peeter Cornewell thence wth Peeter Cornewells lyne E: by N: 74 p. to a branch of Mr. Lucas Creeke & lastly to the place wee began No: E: by N: 30 perches the sd land being due unto the sd Coghill by and for the transportacon of five persons into this colony whose names are underneath this patt: etc. to Have and to Hold etc. given under: my hand at James Citty and the Seale of the Collony this 24 March 1664/5 etc. William Berkeley

Recorded 16th 8br 1665

Test Phillp Ludwell


Know all men by these presents that I James Coghill of the Parrish of Sittingbourne in the county of Rappa. For and in consideration of 2400 pounds of Tob: & caske to me already paid have assigned & made over and by these presents do for me and my heires wth the free consent of Alice my wife assign & make over until Thomas Kirk his heirs and assigned for ever all my right and title to the Pattent and the land within menconed with the appertences. In witness whereof I have hereunto set in the presents of us

John Catlett

James Coghill

Hum. Booth


The assignment of land above menconed was acknowledged by James Coghill and Richard Hanford in the behalfe of Alice Coghill and to the use and behoofe of the Kirke and his heires and desired to be recorded in the County court of Rappa. To the true intents above specified as witness my hand this 4th of August 1666 James Coghill

Recorded in Con. Rappa

5 Die 7bris Ano 1666


Other entries

William Wilton to James Coghill

116h 8br 1667


there is a George Collins and Detter Collins


says recordat 12 Feb 1666



More information regarding land grants in old Rappahannock County


Samuel Poe did not receive a land grand old Rappahannock County


The original patents (land grants) for old Rappahannock County area are known. There were twelve original grants. Samuel Poe is not among those patentees. Samuel Poe’s lands were along Peumansend Swamp (a branch of what later was known as Mill Creek). T.E. Campbell in his book Colonial Caroline, on page 16, states:

In the fourth grant of Caroline land (the third along the Rappahannock) a stream called Powmandsend (Peumansend) appears in the description. This was a grant on April 17, 1667 to John Meders and Henry Peters which reads, “4200 acres on the south side of the river about three miles from the river on the main run of a creek called Powmandsend.”


Samuel Poe must have acquired his 800 acres from John Meders or Henry Peters, but no record of the transaction is known to be extant.


The Meders/Peters grant is referred to in several land transfers recorded in Essex County, where Samuel Poe’s lands are used to indicate boundaries as evidenced above.


Other lands along Peumansend Creek were granted to the following, again from Campbell, page 17:

            1667 – Alexander Fleming, 2,750 acres two miles from the Rappahannock up Peumandsend Creek.

March 17, 1673, Robert Taliaferro, the son of Robert Taliaferro, 739 acres on the south side of the Rappahannock River on both sides of the mouth of a creek known as Peumansend. (Evidently at this time all of Mill Creek was called Peumandsend).

Nov. 5, 1673, Simon Miller, 817 acres “in the county of Rappahannock in the freshes thereof, on the south side of the river, at the head of Peumansend.

Nov. 5, 1673, to Rollins, 650 acres in the back country adjacent to the land granted Simon Miller that day.


Campbell goes on to explain (pages 17-18):

Robert Taliaferro braved shaky title and pillaging pirates to build his establishments on open water navigable for ocean going vessels and took advantage of the opportunity for lucrative trade, which the rapidly growing section offered. Not only were the twelve original patentees in the area, but some, at least, of the first twelve had already divided their holdings with more recently arrived settles. . .  Besides the patents of Smith and Taliaferro at Snow Creek and Henry Corbin eastward from Ware Creek and the Lewis, Warner and Hoomes grants in the upper Mettapony Valley there were only two other grants prior to 1676. In 1672 Col. Thomas Goodrich patented 2,200 acres on Tuckahoe Creek and Francis and Anthony Thornton took up 2,740 acres on the north side of Mattapony  above the steam’s major fork.


Lands begin to be sold

The land began to be sold off as the Poe families moved away. Samuel Poe’s lands were in the portion of Essex County that became Caroline County.


William Poe (whose wife was Lydia) seems to acquire land from John Jones. Amount of land unspecified. James Jones releases land to William Poe.


William Poe

Caroline County Court 11 May 1732

James Jones acknowledged his deeds of lease and release of land indented to William Poe. John Jones by virtue of a power from Mary wife of James relinquished her rights of dower.


It seems that Benjamin Poe moved to Spotsylvania County. Benjamin releases land to John Bradley. (Note that a later William Poe in Caroline County administers the estate of Rachel Bradley ).



Benjamin Poe

10 Oct. 1734

Benja. Poe acknowledged his deeds of lease and release of land indented to John Bradley.



William Poe and Lydia moved to Orange/Culpeper County. They now release land to William Taliaferro. John “Gough” Gouge acquires William Poe’s land in Culpeper County later in the century. (Almost every other place the name is spelled Gouge).


William Poe

Lydia Poe

(p. 461 [9 Dec. 1737]

William Poe’s deeds of lease and release of land indented to William Taliaferro Gent. (and also a power of attorney from Lydia Poe to Benjamin Robinson) was proved by John Gough, John Gough, Jr, and Samuel Edwards, witnesses thereto.



Substantial Poe lands must have remained in Caroline County up to 1749. If the fines were actually paid, the following judgments represent a huge amount of tobacco. That Simon Poe is farming enough land to produce this quantity of tobacco implies he was an inheritor, if not the son, of Samuel Poe. No record exists showing Simon Poe acquiring any lands.


Simon Poe

10 Nov. 1749

Upon the information of Wm. Herndon, constable, agt. Simon Poe for tending seconds, it is ordered that Zacha. Lewis Gent, King's attorney, prosecute him.


9 December 1749

Simon Poe confessed judgment unto our sovereign Lord the King on an information for 2000 pounds.


Simon Poe

9 August 1753

p. 411

Our Sovereign Lord the King agt. Simon Poe. Information William Elliott, foreman. It's considered by the Court that the plaintiff recover 3000 pounds of tobacco.


Samuel Poe

(It appears that land was used to settle the debt with Copeland. By 1778 only 105 acres was being assessed for taxes)


10 March 1757

p. 240

Samuel Poe's deed indented to Peter Copland (Copeland) Gent. was proved by William Strachen.



The following deed records the sale of lands in which the Richard Bradford family, including the Poe men married to Richard Bradford’s daughters, had title. The deed transfers land from this group to John Thilman. It is curious that Sarah Bradford was required to acknowledge her deed of release but not the others, for instance Elizabeth.  Richard Bradford had died a year earlier. The Simon Poe SR family is facing up to 5000 pounds of tobacco in fines. After this release of land, both the Simon Poe family, and many of the Bradford people relocate to North Carolina. Both families get lands from Lord Granville in areas that became Chatham County. Richard Bradford’s will is, in fact, recorded both in North Carolina and Virginia, so this move must have been planned and well thought out. I am not sure of the legal reasons the families recorded the Will in both states.


Simon Poe, Jr.

Stephen Poe

Rachel Bradford (widow)

Elizabeth Bradford (daughter),

Hannah Poe (Hannah Bradford, wife of Stephen Poe, brother of Simon Poe, JR)

Saphiah Poe (Sophia Poe, wife of Simon Poe, Jr)

Sarah Bradford (perhaps Richard’s sister? Which would explain her signing a separate release. Maybe his mother, ages here are not mentioned)


9 Nov. 1758

p. 395

Rachel Bradford, Elizabeth Bradford, Stephen Poe, Hana Poe, Simon Poe Junr, Saphiah (Sophia) Poe, Rachel, Eliza., Hanah and Saphiah being first privately examined, acknowledge their deed of release indented to John Thilman. Sarah Bradford acknowledged her deed of release indented to John Thilman.




By 1766, a William Poe was head of a surveying "gang" at least from 1766 to 1782. This William Poe owned 105 acres for which he was taxed each year up to 1799, the last record available. William Poe also appraised estates. It appears that only this William Poe remained in Caroline County. The other relatives of Samuel Poe appear to have moved on. No record indicates the family connection of this William Poe, but the best guess is that he was the son of Samuel Poe, Jr. who also appears to have remained in Caroline County until his death. Samuel Poe may have had a wife named Elizabeth. Simon Poe, SR had a son named William, but he relocated to Chatham County, NC by 1766. By 1766, it appears that all of the Simon Poe, SR family had moved to North Carolina.


William Poe

p. 353 Court 10th day of July 1766

Ordered that William Poe with his gang assist Charles Stern and his gang in making a crossway over Prosser’s Run.


William Poe

p. 364. Court 14 of November 1771

Ordered Charles Pemberton, Walter Anderson, William Poe, and Joseph Timberlake or any three of them (being first sworn) do appraise the estate of Edward Bowler deceased and return an Inventory thereof to Court.


William Poe

October 1782

Ordered Peyton Stern, Richard Micou, William Poe and Samuel Rawlins or any two of them do view the most convenient way from Richard Ship’s through Marshall’s and Sullenger’s Plantations into the main road.


New land was acquired by a Benjamin Poe in 1772 - but he does not appear on later tax lists. Land was transferred again six years later.


Benjamin Poe

8 August 1772

A Deed Indented & Receipt from Edward Brasfied & Elizabeth his wife (she being first privately examined) to Benja: Poe acknowledged & ordered to be recorded.


Benjamin Poe and wife, Elizabeth (this pair seems to show up in Amherst County, VA by 1785)

p. 126 Court 8 Oct 1778

A deed indented and receipt from Benjamin Poe and Elizabeth his wife (she being first privately examined) acknowledged and ordered to be recorded  (to whom granted not named)


As the century came to a close, it appears that 105 acres still remained in the hands of a descendant of Samuel Poe.  This is the same amount of land acquired by Samuel Poe in 1707.


Caroline County 1787-1799: Virginia Land Tax Lists. T.L.C. Genealogy, Miami Beach, Fl. 1991


Poe, William 105 acres (listed each year for the period 1788-99)


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